Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Excerpt: Thorn Changer Chapter Two Part Three

If you missed the rest of Chapter Two, here is Part One and Part Two. Today I'll be posting Chapter Two Part Three of Thorn Changer. This completes Chapter Two. If you want to see the copyright/disclaimer page, go to the Amazon page and click on the picture of Thorn Changer for the Look Inside option, and scroll up (this also gives you a chance to see the beautiful detail of the cover).


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Excerpt from Thorn Changer by Christy Reed



Skey muffled her face with her cloak, and squinted against the snow. Was that a tavern up ahead? She hoped so. Anything to get out of this cold.

The wind gusted against the door, but Skey won the battle and pulled it open. The snowflakes turned to water drops on impact with the blistering air. She yanked the door closed, and started to the counter. “I wish to speak to the owner,” she caught the barmaid’s eye.

The girl nodded, only glancing at the dark green strip of cloth pulled low over her brow and temples for a moment before she filled a mug from the tap. But that was nothing compared to what she’d do if she saw what was underneath, on that left temple. She slid it down to Skey, and went to one of the tables. Skey took a sip as she watched her talk to a Beolkin, huge and with hair almost as red as the Arilians. She grimaced, and stared at the mug’s contents. What was this foul stuff these Beolkins drank? It was nothing like the light grape juice and honey the Arilians served.

She tried to take another sip, as she watched the maid and the host. They were glancing back at her while they talked. Skey played with the handle of the mug. Did the girl mouth “minstrel”? The host’s face went a shade paler. The beer soured her stomach. Or did it? She kept her face straight as the tavern owner made his way over.
“Well, now, lass, what brings you to these parts?”
Skey tried to look casual. Her heart began to pound. “Traveling. A minstrel needs to find work.”
The host’s deep blue eyes went a shade darker. “One would think you’d find enough at the border, what with the Iezomen about.”
“Border?” What was this? She wrapped her fingers around the mug. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
His eyes narrowed. “No Beolkin is dumb to what’s happening with Foaie. You wouldn’t be deserting your post, would you now?”
Skey swallowed. What had she gotten herself into? Hadn’t that man in the alley hinted at something like this? “Honestly, I’m not stationed at the border. I’m one of the wanderers.” She laughed half-heartedly. “You know, we need to eat too.”
He nodded, but his eyes weren’t friendly. “If you say so. A bed and a meal, but I want you gone before Miagulo’s Guard rides through tomorrow.”
Skey nodded. Why had she bothered stopping? “Deal,” she started to tune her harp. “What songs would you like?”
She had to stop herself from groaning as his eyes grew more hostile. “Only one song popular right now. We’ll have ‘The War Song of Miagulo’.”
Why hadn’t Zeino taught her more about Beolkin cultures? He had taught her all the major songs of Beolki, sure, but not the kingdoms in general… Wait, didn’t she know that one? Yes, he had her pluck it out long ago, when he first taught her to play. And he would sing…
Skey turned to face the room, her back against the counter. She ran her fingers over the strings.
“The war may wax hard
The cold wind of Death may blow.
But still our people will
Never give in to the foe.
We will fight on, we will be
Able to live on peacefully.

Though Fire will rage,
And Pain’s Claw will sink in deep,
Yet we will never be
Silenced, stilled or caused to weep.
We will battle, we will be
Able to raise our children free.

The foe mocks and laughs,
‘They will not escape my grasp.’
He may conquer at first,
But we will vanquish him at last.
We will conquer, we will be
Free, Forever, Eternally.”
Her head spun as the last notes plucked themselves. Her left knee began to shake. Her spine tingled. What had just happened?
The owner started the outbreak of applause. “Well done, lass. Take a break to eat your supper. We’ll want to hear that one again.”
Skey’s other knee shook as she turned back to the counter. The ache in her shoulder crept back. She hadn’t noticed it at all while she played. The barmaid smiled as she placed the bowl in front of her. Skey toyed with her spoon, and stared at the bits of cooked carrot and mutton. Something about that song warmed her inside. Why did she feel so cold then? She pulled her cloak over her. The first bite was tasteless. But the song echoed on…
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That's the end of Chapter Two Part Three. I hope you enjoyed it. For right now, Thorn Changer is available exclusively on Amazon. Feel free to share this excerpt, just please include all text between the asterisks (* * *), as well as a link to Thorn Changer's Amazon page. This will give your viewers a link to where they can purchase Thorn Changer if they're interested. Thanks.

Chapter Three Part One will be available on Monday next week.

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